What has happened in your life? Getting Married Divorce Birth of a Child Death of a Spouse Planning for Retirement Getting a Better Job Getting Out On Your Own Planning for College Getting Married Getting married means you have a lot more to protect. Here are some things to think about as you get your finances in order. Is your life protected with life, health and disability insurance? The last love note you will ever write is your life insurance. Even if you are covered through your employer, you should evaluate whether that is the best long-term arrangement and whether it is at the best rate. Is your emergency fund in place? You should have three to six months salary stashed in a CD or money market account to take care of an unexpected job loss or other expense. Divorce A divorce can be devastating emotionally and financially. We can help you get on your feet financially. With our help, you can review all existing life and health policies to change your beneficiaries as appropriate. You may also want to take a look at the amount and type of life insurance that you have. Has your life, health or disability insurance changed or terminated? Contact us to help you review and adjust coverage levels appropriately. How has your retirement plan been affected? We can help you get back on track. Birth of a Child Congratulations on becoming a new parent! Parenthood brings many joys and responsibilities. How can you be sure your new baby is provided for in the event of your death, disability or serious illness? Did you know that you need to begin saving for college now? We can help you determine how much is realistic and necessary. Let us help you assess your current financial situation and develop a plan. Death of a Spouse The death of a spouse can leave the surviving spouse in a financial predicament, especially if adequate life insurance was not in place. We have a number of products which can take your lump sum life insurance proceeds and put them to work providing a lifetime income to you. If you are considering selling assets or paying off debt, please talk to us first. These are decisions that need to be carefully considered along with guidance from your tax advisor. A general rule of thumb is to make no significant financial changes for several months following the death of a spouse. Planning for Retirement Many people fail to plan adequately for retirement. Avoid this trap by beginning to save for retirement as early as possible - ideally in your 20`s. The dollars you put back when you are young make the biggest impact on your retirement. A $2,000 contribution to a retirement account at age 25 could grow to $64,000 by age 70 due to the compounding effect over time. (This is a hypothetical example assuming an 8% average annual return. Actual results may vary.) At retirement, we can help you determine the minimum and maximum amounts you can take from your retirement accounts to avoid taxes and penalties. You may also choose to convert retirement dollars into an income stream that can be indexed for inflation if you would like.Retirement is an excellent time to add long-term care insurance to your financial plan. The cost of long-term care is most likely by far the largest uninsured liability you have at this point in your life. The chances of a catastrophic homeowner's claim is 1 in 1200, the chances of a catastrophic auto claim is 1 in 40, but the chances of a married couple needing long term care is 66%. Policies today offer care in your home including housework and chore services, adult day care, meals-on-wheels, care in an assisted-living facility, and care in a nursing home. Care plans can be customized to meet your needs and even include paying for home modifications like a ramp to your front door or installing a pull bar in your bathtub, to make life a little easier at home. Use our calculator to assess whether you are saving enough for your retirement. Getting a Better Job Getting a better job means you are achieving your career goals. Make sure that your financial goals are making similar progress. Each raise or better position you get is a chance to make a difference in your financial security. Consider putting the amount of your raise into a retirement account, a college fund, or into mutual funds for a long-term goal such as a larger home. Are you protected against serious illness, premature death or long-term disability? If not, now is the time to get the basics in place. Getting Out On Your Own As you graduate from college or high school and embark on your career, you will want to begin your own financial plan. We have great rates on short-term medical insurance if your need is for six months or less. If your need is long-term, we can help you find the best rates and coverage for your situation.If you are incurring debts for the purchase of a home or new vehicle, you will also want to consider disability insurance to cover expenses in the event you become disabled. While debt for a home or vehicle may be necessary, other credit card and other consumer debt is very expensive debt and can start a downward spiral that is very difficult to reverse. Begin now to live beneath your means, and you will be much more secure financially over the long haul.Now is the best time to start saving for retirement. Even a small amount today can make a big difference in retirement.The beginning of your financial independence is a critical time for getting off on the right foot. We would be happy to help you determine what is reasonable for you given your income and current debts. Getting the basics in place will make achieving your financial goals in the future much easier to achieve. Planning for College Learning about the projected cost of college can make it hard to sleep at night. If tuition increases just 5% each year, in just 14 years it will double.While these numbers are frightening, financing the tassel is worth the hassle. College grads earn 40% more than high school graduates. Even more striking, masters level graduates earn 70% more than high school graduates. No matter whether your goals are to send your children to a technical college, a public institution or private university, it is critical that you start saving as soon as possible.An investment could:Help minimize a college debt,Manage the financial burdens incurred during the college years, orReduce the need to borrow or liquidate assets to finance and education.Funding can come from a variety of sources, but the key is to make a commitment every year to help provide for your children`s tuition costs. That`s where we can help you sort through the pros and cons of college investing to identify what you are eligible for, what fits your desire for control of the investment and control of how it is spent, and, of course, which options give you the greatest tax advantage.The primary methods for college investing are described below:Roth IRAs - A Roth IRA is an option for college funding that is often overlooked. A Roth allows an owner to take out the principal and pay for college without any penalty, and he or she can control how the money is invested. Funds not used for college can be used for your retirement. In addition, retirement funds are not included in net assets for financial aid calculations. There are income restrictions for contributing to a Roth.Section 529 Plans - Earnings are now tax-free on contributions to Section 529 plans. Parents and grandparents can give money to the plan - and get it out of their estates - while still retaining control over the account and the ability to take the money back if necessary. It is the only way to both make a gift and retain the ability to get it back if you change your mind or need the money for something else. A parent or grandparent can contribute sizable amounts to an investment account to pay for a beneficiary`s higher education expenses.Coverdell Education Savings Accounts - With a Coverdell ESA, account earnings are allowed to build up and can then be withdrawn tax-free to pay for the account beneficiary's college expenses. Of course, the contributions themselves are on an after-tax basis. So far, so good. Even better, you'll be able to take tax-free withdrawals to pay for elementary and secondary school (K-12) expenses starting in 2002. Starting next year, you will also be allowed to take tax-free withdrawals from an Education IRA in the same year the Hope Scholarship or Lifetime Learning tax credit is claimed for the account beneficiary's college expenses. There are certain income restrictions for contribution to an Education IRA.Uniform Transfers to Minors Account (UTMA) - Another way to save for college is to set up an investment account in the child`s name. For some, these accounts are tax-advantaged. At majority age, however, the assets belong to the child and can be used for any purpose.